A new virtual reality game puts gamers in the goalie box blocking penalty shots to save the day.
Dallas-based 900lbs of Creative calls it the FC Dallas Goalie Simulation game, the first of its kind for the HTC Vive headset. 900lbs of Creative debuted it last weekend at a special event for FC Dallas season ticket holders at Toyota Stadium in Frisco. They even let Goalie Chris Seitz, head coach Oscar Pareja, and team president Dan Hunt give it a try.
The game uses hand controllers to sense where the hands are as the gamer attempts to block shots, said Steven Billingslea, lead interactive developer for 900lbs of Creative. The opponent is a digital hologram that can trick things up with hook shots to make it more challenging, he said.
They use realistic physics to make the ball’s movements as realistic as possible. The project started as an internal demo to see what’s possible but it quickly took off.
“Interactive technology is our tool and we can create more layers for the game experience and help generate more fans.”
“Soccer is becoming so much more popular in the United States and it’s an exciting time for the sport,” said Steve Deitz, CEO of 900lbs of Creative. “Interactive technology is our tool and we can create more layers for the game experience and help generate more fans.”
With VR in its infancy, 900lbs of Creative is driven to push the VR envelope as far as it will go. The Vive just came out this year and the game has only been in development for about four months, Billingslea said.
“We’d like to polish it out more, strap controllers to your legs, allow you to shoot your own shots,” he said.
Their goal is to take adapt the technology to other sports such as baseball and hockey. New holsters could be strapped onto a real baseball bat or hockey stick to simulate swings or shots.
“We’re doing R&D on what’s possible and more importantly what’s fun,” Billingslea said. “We’re going to be looking around at other potential clients who would be interested in this.”
They’d also like to adapt the game so children with disabilities could participate in digital sports.
None of this would be possible without the HTC Vive, which costs about $800, and the heavy-duty — and expensive — computer that runs the software. For now, the two have to be tethered with a cord, which can extend about 15 feet.
As wireless technology improves, Billingslea fully expects a cordless version of the Vive will come out, allowing people full range of motion as they walk around an environment.
The cost also limits mass adoption but that will also improve over time, he said.
“As we move forward, I think this stuff will end up in homes,” Billingslea said.
For now, the HTC Vive will be an experience that most people have to do at a specific location, such as a sporting event or a promotional event.
The new Playstation VR will close that gap, even if the technology isn’t as advanced as the HTC Vive, he said.
900lbs of Creative has a core team of five to six people and can expand to 12 to 14 people as needed. They’re based in Bishop Arts.
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